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Newcastle Basketball, Hunter Indoor Sports Centre plans

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Less than three months after it received scathing criticism for its plans to build a $39 million stadium in New Lambton, Newcastle Basketball is once again hoping to win over the community by opening the doors to discussion on its proposed Hunter Indoor Sports Centre. 

The city’s only home to what has become one of Australia’s fastest-growing team sports is hoping its transparency will help win over any community opposition. 

Desperately in need of an upgraded facility, and after almost five years of to-ing and fro-ing over possible locations, Newcastle Basketball general manager Matt Neason says now is the time to chase support. 

“To date we have worked closely with key stakeholders including council and state government agencies to advance planning for what will be a highly valuable community asset,” he says. 

“Now it’s time to expand this to the broader community to ensure we can provide clear information about the project and provide an opportunity for questions and comment prior to finalising planning ahead of our development application being lodged.” 

basketball
In 2022, Newcastle Basketball’s Falcons men’s and women’s teams were included in the new NBL1 East competition.

Boasting more than 5,000 members, Newcastle Basketball currently calls the stadium on Curley Street in Broadmeadow its home base. 

Built in 1970, the six-court facility is rapidly being outgrown by its increasing membership base. 

In spite of undergoing recent repairs, court time is continually halted at the address due to weather conditions. 

While all agree the venue is in desperate need of an upgrade, not everyone can agree on the location. 

In 2020 the brand was hoping to build a state-of-the-art, 10-court, 4,000-seat arena in Hillsborough, with endorsement from Independent MP Greg Piper.

The DA application reached Lake Macquarie City Council before later receiving community objection. 

There have also been other locations under investigation in the years prior and since, before its latest move in March 2023 when it spruced plans to build opposite McDonald Jones Stadium in New Lambton. 

Newcastle Basketball Stadium
Newcastle Basketball has been hoping to begin building its dream base for many years now.

Different suburb, different electorate, different politician – cue Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery

In December 2023, Ms Hornery said although she agreed Newcastle needed a new stadium, the proposed site opposite Turton Road was not a viable option. 

“I’ve held serious concerns about the proposed location since the Lord Mayor announced it on the eve of the 2023 NSW Election with zero consultation,” Ms Hornery said. 

“After discussing this issue with a variety of stakeholders, including Newcastle Basketball, Lambton High P&C, Newcastle District Cricket and a number of local residents, my fears remain. 

“I think all can agree that the existing basketball stadium is not fit for purpose and the sport deserves an upgrade in our region. 

“However, the proposal launched by Cr Nuatali Nelmes to build it on Wallarah and Blackley ovals in Lambton was not the right call. 

“The site, Crown Land leased and managed by council, is currently occupied by Newcastle District Cricket and the Lambton Jaffas Juniors. 

“It would be grossly unfair to disadvantage two existing sporting codes at the locale to favour another when there are other, and better, options.” 

Newcastle Basketball and its members are keen to see the long-awaited construction of a multi-court facility in the near future.

Three months later, on Friday 8 March, Newcastle Basketball released a statement confirming it was continuing to pursue its New Lambton plans.. and would now welcome public feedback. 

“Planning for the regionally significant Hunter Indoor Sports Centre is continuing with site investigations, specialist studies and concept plans being prepared. The centre will ultimately be the new home of Newcastle Basketball but will also cater for a range of other indoor sports including volleyball, pickle ball, wheelchair sports, netball, Futsal, and badminton,” said a statement issued by the group.  

“As part of the planning process, Newcastle Basketball have already engaged with a range of government, community and sporting stakeholders garnering significant support for a much-needed facility that will generate substantial health, social and economic benefits for the region.” 

March 2024

For the most part of March, Newcastle Basketball will be launching a webpage dedicated to the project with a feedback form for questions or comment, it will provide information packages and feedback opportunity to local residents, host ‘drop-in’ sessions at the current Newcastle Basketball Stadium, and hold an information session with the Lambton High School community.  

“Updated project information will be available from 11 March onwards and ‘drop-in’ sessions will be held at Newcastle Basketball Stadium from 9am to 11am, Saturday 16 March, and 5.30pm to 7.30pm, Monday 18 March,” said Newcastle Basketball general manager Matt Neason. 

“The project will help to address a massive shortfall in indoor sports courts in the region. 

“The current stadium is almost 55 years old and well past its ‘useful life’. Only last month, despite being an ‘indoor stadium’, we had a major inundation of water on the courts from a storm that interrupted programs and competitions.  

“Capacity is so limited that each season we turn away around 500 players despite using numerous school facilities along with our main stadium.”  

The Dream

The ultimate scope of the project will include 12 courts including a show court with seating for up to 2,500 people, café and social zone, athlete training and testing facilities, administration spaces, multipurpose rooms and community meeting rooms.  

The design aims to retain as much open space as possible for use by the community as well as provide a modern sporting centre that can be accessed by Lambton High School and other community groups.  

The initial Stage 1 works are expected to include six indoor sports courts, carparking and supporting amenities.  

Funding is being sourced for additional courts and support facilities to enable the complete relocation of Newcastle Basketball once the full development is realised.  

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